Less than 5 percent of all insect species create problems.
Most insects are beneficial, pollinating flowers to produce fruits and vegetables or consuming true pests. "Broad spectrum" chemical pesticides kill insects indiscriminately. Pesticides also leave residue in the environment.
A Better Way
IPM (Integrated Pest Management) takes into account all control methods, using chemical pesticides as a last resort. Healthy plants can withstand some damage from true pests, so your first step is to prevent problems with good plant care. Sometimes just waiting for the weather to change solves the problem because many insects thrive in specific temperatures.
As needed, add other control measures, starting with the least toxic. For example, hose off aphids or mites with a strong blast of water. If ineffective, try a soapy water spray.
Beneficial insects are an important part of IPM. You may not notice, but beneficials are in our landscape year around consuming pest such as aphids, whiteflies and thrips. Learn to identify all life stages so you don't mistakenly destroy these beneficial insects.
Attract beneficials to Your Yard
- Plant wildflowers, milkweeds and flowering herbs such as cilantro and dill.
- Halt pesticide use and birds and lizards will provide excellent control. Insects are an essential part of the food chain!